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Tipsheet

Department of Labor Releases Bulletin About Potential COVID Vaccine Injuries

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

The Department of Labor has posted a bulletin, dated October 1, 2021, about how the federal government will handle potential injuries inflicted on federal workers by Wuhan coronavirus vaccines. 

President Joe Biden mandated the vaccination for all federal workers and contractors by December 8. The subject line of the bulletin reads, "Coverage for Injuries Resulting from the COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate for Federal Employees." 

"The Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) covers injuries that occur in the performance of duty. The FECA does not generally authorize provision of preventive measures such as vaccines and inoculations, and in general, preventive treatment is a responsibility of the employing agency under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 7901. However, care can be authorized by OWCP for complications of preventive measures which are provided or sponsored by the agency, such as adverse reaction to prophylactic immunization," the bulletin states. "Further, deleterious effects of medical services furnished by the employing establishment are generally considered to fall within the performance of duty. These services include preventive programs relating to health." 

"However, this executive order now makes COVID-19 vaccination a requirement of most Federal employment. As such, employees impacted by this mandate who receive required COVID-19 vaccinations on or after the date of the executive order may be afforded coverage under the FECA for any adverse reactions to the vaccine itself, and for any injuries sustained while obtaining the vaccination," it continues. 

The bulletin also details how claims should be made. 

"Because COVID-19 vaccination is a specific event occurring during a single day or work shift, any adverse reactions or injuries should be reported on Form CA-1, Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay / Compensation. Where two vaccinations are required several weeks apart, reactions to each are considered separate claims," it states. "When a claim is received for injury due to receipt of the COVID-19 vaccination, the claims examiner should determine if the vaccine was received prior to September 9, 2021. If the vaccination was received prior to this date, coverage is afforded only if the vaccine was administered or sponsored by the employing agency." 

"If the employee is covered by the executive order and vaccination was received on or after September 9, 2021, coverage may be afforded for (1) adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccination and (2) injuries sustained as the direct result of an employee receiving their mandated vaccination," the bulletin continues. 

FECA Bulletins (2020-2024) | U.S. Department of Labor by Katie Pavlich on Scribd

The memo is prompting questions from Congress. 

In addition to mandating the vaccine for federal workers, in September, Biden issued a mandate (although the rule hasn't been released yet) for private companies with over 100 employees. 

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